‘I work silly hours just so I have something to complain about…clip on earrings…couscous…’ these are what Sophie Rose, writer and solo performer of this show, calls ‘quiet violence.’ The small atrocities that we commit against ourselves on a daily basis without ever really questioning why. She begins by greeting her audience chirpily, chatting informally and easing us into our seats. She is immediately likeable, self-deprecating, and warm, she offers a familiarity that is comforting and close.
In a fusion of spoken word, storytelling, and theatricality, Sophie Rose begins to spin a tale of her life, in a jenga box block of flats, and of her downstairs neighbour Stan, an elderly man with whom she often watches TV. He takes too much effort to make cups of tea and runs with his laces undone. She wears high heels that are too small on nights out that she doesn’t really want to be at and sleeps with a man who doesn’t text her often enough. The comforting familiarity with which Sophie Rose eases us in is mesmerising tool to sink us into uncomfortable recognition of a life full of desperate attempts to feign happiness when apathy and empty gestures are all we really feel. She talks of late nights spent sat on Facebook, wearing skinny jeans even though they don’t suit her. The camaraderie of her friends forcing themselves to go out, because they’re young and that’s what they should be doing, right?
The pacing and writing of this piece are very deft indeed, I am engaged by our solo performer throughout and although she speaks of mundanity she often slips into a poetic lyricism that lifts this tale into a beautifully painted metaphor for how pressingly depressing these everyday acts can become: ‘I wonder where he stores those thoughts in his nine to five, because I only ever hear them on a payday Friday night.’ The strength of this piece lies in its solid writing and Rose’s ability to use words that paint pictures as well as create atmosphere.
There are many funny moments; her friend looks like she’s lost weight – ‘Yeah well I’ve just done a poo and my tights are pulled up to my tits.’ The audience laugh and the lightness found gives greater depth to the darkness underneath. For this really is a tale of feeling lost, looking for some spark or meaning, carrying on with small acts of quiet violence against ourselves because we don’t want to question the status quo. The theme of modern youth-hood, played out on social media with an apathetic understanding of what we should and shouldn’t do is a truly gripping one. Sophie Rose has touched a nerve that her generation will feel acutely. She provides an engaging narrative, slips between characters and uses her own unique style of writing to open up a delicate theme that is really worth engaging with: ‘We are all the youngest we will ever be today.’ So what are we going to do?
A brilliant piece of lyrical and truthful writing performed with tenderness and charm.